Sessile oak tree, Quercus petraea. Coombes Valley RSPB reserve. Staffordshire, England. May 2007.

Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest

Right in the heart of England you’ll find the Sherwood Forest Futurescape; a mosaic of ancient woodland, heathlands, acidic grasslands, river corridors, man-made lakes and farmland.

Famously the realm of legendary outlaw Robin Hood, much of the surviving ancient woodland was originally part of a royal hunting forest. Now, the internationally renowned Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve contains more than 1,000 ancient oaks. Most are more than 500 years old. The most famous, the major oak, is thought to be nearly twice that age!

Nightjars and woodlarks live on the heaths, lesser spotted woodpeckers, marsh tits, redstarts and woodcocks in the woodlands. Sadly the woodlands have shrunk and have become separated, whilst the heathland has decreased by 95 per cent over the last 150 years.

We are working with partners in Sherwood Forest, identifying ways of creating new habitat in the best locations – making the existing areas bigger and improving links.

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Futurescapes - Sherwood Forest

Explore the area

Find out what’s going on near this Futurescape, including places to visit, news and local events, plus how you can work or volunteer for us. 

Robin Hood statue in amongst trees at Sherwood Forest

Nearby reserves

Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. There are no RSPB reserves within the Sherwood Forest Futurescape, but nearby are:

Beckingham Marshes

Beckingham Marshes is a major habitat building project on the River Trent floodplain, where we've created a wet grassland habitat.

Langford Lowfields

We’re working in partnership with Tarmac to restore a sand and gravel quarry on the River Trent into the largest reedbed in the East Midlands.

Budby South Forest

An extraordinary blend of ancient woodland and the largest area of historic heathland remaining in the Midlands, Budby is home to an array of weird, wonderful and increasingly under-threat wildlife.

Landscape view of Langford Lowfields RSPB reserve, Nottingham, May
Langford Lowfields
Willow works and roadside verge wildflowers, Beckingham Marshes RSPB reserve
Beckingham Marshes

Featured projects

We're working to safeguard improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.

Woodland Biodiversity Project

Woodland wildlife has declined dramatically in recent decades, at the same time as decreases in woodland management. This project is aiming to help woodland owners manage their woods for wildlife and advise them on grants which are available to help them in this process.

Ancient Oak at Sheerwood Forest
Image: Colin Wilkinson

Our partners

Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in Sherwood Forest. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with: